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Olympic Softball Pioneer Don Porter Dies at Age 90

Blake SchusterAnalyst IJune 10, 2020

Don Porter, president of the International Softball Federation, talks about the federations' work to return softball to the Olympics, during an interview in Oklahoma City, Saturday, July 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Don Porter has died at age 90.  

A long-time figure in the world of softball, Porter helped bring the sport to the Olympics beginning in 1996 and spearheaded its return for 2021 after it was removed by the International Olympic Committee in 2008. 

Porter previously held the title of executive director of the Amateur Softball Association, which would become USA Softball, from 1963 to 1997.

"We are deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Don Porter, a visionary leader and advocate for the sport of softball," USA Softball CEO Craig Cress said, per ESPN's Graham Hays. "His vision for our sport led to softball participation in over 130 countries around the world, and his impact and influence, not only for our organization but for the sport of softball as a whole, will continue to live on in every participant, administrator and fan."

Porter died on Sunday in Oklahoma City, where he helped weave the sport into the fabric of the town.

The former executive helped the ASA relocate to OKC, and the sport's flagship stadium was briefly named Don E. Porter ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Now known as OGE Energy Field at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, it has since been expanded to host 13,000 fans and is home to the Women's College World Series. 

In addition to his duties with USA Softball, Porter also worked as president of the International Softball Federation from 1987 to 2012, and he was later co-president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation from 2013 to 2014.

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A veteran of the Korean War, Porter is survived by his wife, Jean, three children, 12 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

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